• Megan

    Thanks, Heather. A lot of this hits home for me, raised a Mormon in Alabama.

  • Heidi

    Thank you, Heather. As a white mom to a biracial daughter, it’s incredibly difficult and painful to see the news. It’s difficult to have the necessary conversations. The most difficult part is for 34 years I had no idea what my white privilege was doing to the black race. Not outwardly racist, but systematically racist and never realizing the real harm. It hurts deeply. But I’m sure it doesn’t begin to compare to a lifetime of oppression. But now I can act. Like you said, now I can do better.

    Merriam Webster says Race = a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits.

    That? That, in it’s rawest form, is what we are choosing to divide ourselves over?

  • Wendy Richards

    Thank you so much for your words and the reading recommendations. I grew up in Milwaukee, WI. Seeing what has devome of the racial unrest there in recent years slaps me to show my kids better. My parents too taught what they were taught. It’s been a struggle to remember that they learned from my grandparents when segregation was a norm.

    On a side note, I want to express sympathy for all your dealing with. It is indeed heartbreaking to have the kids gone for 5 weeks. Although, just remember as you’re going through it, that you have gone through hardships before and come out the other side. You will come out of this too, albeit with quite a few tears shed. It will get easier in subsequent years.

    I was cleaning up old bookmarks and came across your blog again after many years. I think I stopped reading shortly after Marlo was born. I missed it. I’ve been going back through your archives for the last few days to catch up. Stay strong.

  • Lauren3

    Always gaining so much from reading your words. Thank you for continuing to write. Thank you also for leading me to follow Kelly Wickham on Facebook, whom I also learn so much from. I had sent that blog post of yours from 2014 to a friend I was ready to lose faith in, and it was a turning point in our conversation about racism.

  • May R.

    Microagressions: It’s been a while since I’ve read about this specifically, but I know I could benefit from being made aware of any of the things I do and am not aware of that further marginalize/otherize. So that I can do something, be better, as you’ve articulated. Thank you for your words and especially the book recs. Thank you for making the effort to teach Leta; I will do the same for my daughter.

  • sheila

    Thank you for this.
    The Warmth of Other Suns is an amazing book

  • http://www.moosenotes.com MooseNotes.com

    Today, flags across the country were lowered at half mast for the murdered police officers in Dallas. I am devastated that these good men lost their lives.

    And I understand that this was the deadliest day for law enforcement since 9/11.

    But I am angry that the flag has not been lowered in recognition of the black men that were wrongfully shot and killed this week. I suppose one is a national tragedy and the other is simply local, a one off, not part of a bigger story?

  • readiness

    Thank you for this

  • Karen

    “Stop criticizing the response of an oppressed group of people to their oppression.”

    We’re required to call out the injustice of the oppression, but not the injustice of the response?

  • Mariana

    I just read your post and comments, WOW!

    So Heather, I guess you are skipping your next class reunion.

    Also, I find it so funny when people say “you must be voting for Hillary”. So that means voting for Trump is a compliment?

    Anyway, I do get BLM now. Thanks for the lesson.

  • Karen Bernstein

    I read Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” this week, a novel largely about being black in the 20th century. It touches on why people left the South, what happened to them in the North and many other themes. There is not a single white character in the novel. It’s immersive and compelling and wow, am I glad my head was in that fictional world when the shit hit the fan this week. As a white woman raised in the North and living in the South now I’ve seen a lot of racism and even been touched by it myself a bit (apparently I looked black to some of my neighbors growing up).

    Your post from 2014 inspired me to have more conversations with my kids as well, and to make more of an effort to diversify my own group of close friends. I’m trying on FB and in real life to say and do things that are helpful and hopefully I’m not making too many mistakes. Thank you for continuing to push your readers.

  • KathyB

    Molly Ivins said (paraphrasing from gimpy memory) that liberal southerners of my generation came out of the same experience. Once we figured out that the adults were lying about race we could question everything. Systemic racism is so insidious. I was a pampered child in the fifties. I knew my privilege by about age five. Nothing subtle about it.

    We lived in a small town in western Kentucky. The second black lady who worked for us and sometimes babysat was named Cora. She followed Bessie after Bessie’s family moved to California. The white friends of my parents were known to me only as Mr. and Mrs. whatever last name. My mother had not wanted help, but my father told her that the only jobs available to the black wives (colored then) were as domestic help.

    My mother, at 81, worried about Obama’s personal safety campaigning in 2008. I told her he was probably the safest black man in the country with Secret Service protecting him. She was able to vote for him absentee from ICU. She saw him win.

  • Judith Rosa

    If it’s any consolation to you, Heather, you are not the only one. Yesterday I told someone on Facebook to “shut his fucking racist piehole”. I do try to be reasonable most times.

    About getting it wrong: I’m Puerto Rican so I identify more with black people than with white but due to the fairness of my skin I know I benefit from white privilege so I try to listen and learn instead of insisting I could possibly never be wrong or insist that I cannot be called on for some actions because I have suffered too. For starters, I don’t have to worry that my pale, blue-eyed son will be racially profiled, we don’t have to worry that people will think we don’t belong in our upscale-ish building or have ladies protect their purses from me (yep, it has happened when I am with a black co-workers!). Due to that privilege I can’t pretend that I truly know what my black and brown friends and relatives experience every time the are in public. They don’t have the luxury of forgetting the color of their skin because there will always be someone to remind them.

    I will give you an example: I have always dressed very, shall we say, comfortably (my mom said sloppy.) Yet I have never been confused with the help. My sister, who dresses in very expensive, completely professional suits and who is always perfectly coiffed and made up, on the other hand, has been asked for coffee refills or extra silverware at professional luncheons, once even at an activity where she was the keynote speaker. The difference? My sister is brown. (I want to make clear, there is nothing wrong with working as a server. But there is tons wrong with finding it impossible that the only dark skinned person in the room could possibly be a very successful professional.) I bet none of the ladies at those functions thought they were racist.

    So, yes, do your best, keep learning, and if you are called on for a behavior, listen. That last has been the hardest part for me because “I am not racist.” :(

  • Kate Jeffries

    Thank you, Heather. I’m a white 43 year old from London, so I can have no clue what black people go through. All I know is that I’m sat here, watching and reading and my jaw is open in disbelief at what I’m witnessing.

  • Anna Cabrera

    Hard and lovely, and most of all, honest… we all need a whole lot more of all of it.
    Thank you